Lade - 0800hrs - cold, dry, sunny, n 1 - After yesterdays gloom and rain it was good to see the sunshine once again, albeit with a light grass frost. As is often the way following a wet day, this morning birds were everywhere. The lakes were smothered in hundreds of common waterfowl, plus one or two corpses on the margins as a result of the weekends poaching. Around the willow swamp Kingfisher, Water Rail, Goldcrest, Cetti`s Warbler and Chiffchaff all noted, plus a large flock of tits including Long-tailed. But it was the raptors that were most noteworthy with several Marsh Harriers, two Buzzards, Sparrowhawk and Kestrels abroad behind the `mirrors`. Large flocks of Woodpigeons continue to feed on the farmland beside the airport along with loads of corvids, Lapwings and gulls. Walking back along Mockmill sewer we had cracking views of a Short-eared Owl quartering the Desert towards the water tower, flushing Mipits and Skylarks in its wake.
ARC - Called in at Hanson hide where there was only small numbers of wildfowl on the lake, but did include five Goldeneyes, three Shelducks and two Pintails. The obligatory Marsh Harriers and Great White Egrets present, while around the Willow Trail scrub three Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest noted within a tit flock; Water Rail and Cetti`s Warbler also heard.
Lade Bay - Spent most of the afternoon checking the beach and tideline on a falling tide from Lade to Littlestone. Shorebird numbers were similar to last week although Knot had risen to 85, while we eventually found a few Grey and Ringed Plovers at Littlestone. The construction work is now complete on the sewage outflow pipe at the Varne boat club where the majority of Redshanks and Turnstones were found; while the large concrete blocks could in future attract Purple Sandpipers once they`ve worn in with a bit of seaweed and the like.
Finished off at last knockings scanning the golf course but there was no sign of the recently reported Short-eared Owl, just a Stonechat and a few Linnets.